The government has given Ofcom and the competition authorities more time to investigate and recommend on the takeover of Sky by 21st Century Fox. The Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport, Karen Bradley, said she had extended the deadline because of the forthcoming general election.
Regulators are examining the deal in the light of media plurality and broadcasting standards. There is also a ‘fit and proper’ test that some observers think will be worrying Fox in light of the sexual harassment claims at Fox News. Star anchor Bill O’Reilly was effectively fired this week though with a pay-off of tens of millions of dollars. Fox news had already parted with founder and chairman Roger Ailles after similar accusations, again with a huge pay-off.
European competition authorities had already Okayed the deal.
Fox has agreed a £11.7 billion (€14bn) deal to buy the 61 per cent of Sky that it does not already own. Sky shareholders would receive £10.75 cash for each share, valuing the entire company at £18.5 billion.
Bradley said: “Given the proximity of this decision to the forthcoming general election and following discussions with the parties, Ofcom, the CMA and the Cabinet Office Propriety and Ethics team”, she had extended the deadline until June 20th after the state opening of Parliament.